Abstract


It was sunny and warm yesterday – perfect conditions for snowshoeing.  We headed off into the woods without a specific destination but rather to explore.  The snow was still deep where is was sheltered from the full sunlight making our snowshoes a definite requirement for any navigation.  There were numerous deer trails and turkey tracks throughout the woods.  After awhile we came upon a small clearing that was more open to the sunlight.  The shadows fell strong upon the snow, in undulating lines and patterns —  a dynamic statement of the beauty of winter.

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This morning was cold and windy.  The sky was cloudy and the air was filled with fine sleet and tiny snow.  Winter still has its grip, and we were on a drive exploring.  The forests can be thick or thinned.  In this one area was a wonderful stand of birch and aspen, with a few small oaks in their midst.  The colors and contrasts caught my eye –  white on white, gray on white, and brown and white.  Certainly a limited color palate, but beautiful in its starkness.

Our temperatures climbed into the 20’s today, making it much more enjoyable to be outside.  I headed out for a walk in the woods this afternoon.  All was quiet except for the sound of my boots breaking through the snow.  Occasionally the wind would kick up and rustle the remaining oak leaves that have stiffened in the cold and still cling to the trees.  As we’re in the northern part of the United States, north of the 45th parallel of north latitude, the sun still hangs low in the sky even near noon, resulting in lovely shadows that stretch across the landscape.  With snow covering the ground, these shadows create patterns and designs that are soft and seem to dance in the wind.  It was a beautiful show that was put on for me as I stood in the relative quiet to soak up the available sun.

The sun had just set, and the twilight was slowly diminishing.  On the opposite shore of the lake, the full moon rose quietly.  It gracefully cleared the trees and its light sent a column of brightness across the ice.  The weather has been unusually warm so the ice was not solid and clear.  The moon’s light showed the imperfections of the ice, along with the leaves that have been embedded during the colder nights.  It was a beautiful study of light, patterns, hardness and softness.

I was at the McNeely Conservatory at Como Park the other day and found myself mesmerized by the palms.  They’re towering and huge but this day the sun was filtering through the dome and creating some imaginative shadow and light plays.  Part of it reminded me of puppet shows we used to create when we were children.   I found myself trying to make up stories as to what was going on.  This image seemed to be of a flock of birds at the bottom; others weren’t as abstract as this.  Either way, the lines, the colors, the shadows, and the light all came together amongst the palms.

A perfect summer’s day found us wandering amongst lakes in central Minnesota, north of Mille Lacs.  Blue sky, puffy clouds, a light breeze and a warm sun were all part of this epitome of summer.  As we were out on the water my eye became focused on the reflection in the water.  In one slow shutter-speed moment, the blue sky above was reflected in the surface.  White clouds streaming by lent their movement, and the darker gray and dark blue of the water itself gave a wonderful abstract.

fall-color-reflection-14359_staatsI was up early yesterday morning hoping for a beautiful sunrise to compliment the fall colors that we’re enjoying in Minnesota.  But as luck would have it, the cloud cover was too thick and there was no sunshine.  However, it was unusually warm and the colors were still wonderful.  There was enough wind to throw ripples across the lake and there was a shoreline that was mostly protected from the wind.  Looking through the camera lens I was mesmerized by the color reflection in the water.  The slight movement created a blur of colors and the more I looked at it the more I was reminded of the Northern Lights, only here they were playing out as reflections in a northern lake.

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